While Jack Bauer can undergo stomach-turning torture and savage beatings and get right back to work following a commercial break, Sutherland's minor, elective surgery to remove a cyst near his kidney shut down production on the show for two weeks. We hear he even took advantage of anesthetics for the operation.
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Fans won't notice, because the gap in production didn't throw off the broadcast schedule. The current season has Bauer trying to disrupt a nuclear plot and fight off an eastern European syndicate. Making matter worse, despite all he's done for his country, Bauer still finds himself working for ungrateful bosses all too willing to believe the worst about him. Predictable, sure, but somehow the show still keeps you on the edge of the couch.
The broadcast schedule for the "24" season is due to wrap in May, and nothing the evil Russians do to Bauer can imperil that schedule. However, if Sutherland gets a hangnail ...